I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great taproot; It is what you fear. I do not fear it: I have been there (S. Plath)
The first Easter, I put jellied beans on the tips of the barbwire fence
For contrast and reflection on the newness of it all.
The beans had fallen, and now razor wire bound me,
All this new to me and never before.
My neck was degloved behind closed doors
In an elders ceremony of shame,
But they let me keep the collar
On a small shelf,
With my other personal items.
(Grateful without words
At the tight enthusiasm
Of a youth expressed,
Without guile to confuse me
Or humanness to prevent me,
I dream of their unformed lust.)
The second Easter, I cleaned the altar with paint thinner
To make the silver have luster and gold gleam
Old brass became the new color,
And I was living with the others.
We sat in groups, still aroused by the telling
Of our over remembered sins in specifics.
All glad to feel again
In that physical of the impassioned way --
In our eager soft restraint.
And we cried with our correction
Sentenced harshly, so now allowed remorse,
We pretended to stand before our victims
In a prayer for both mercy and forgiveness-
Those things new to us and never before.
The fifth Easter, I buried my cross in the yard
But it didn’t matter,
I saw it everywhere, and more,
The children I had marked with my X,
All deformed and crippled,
Broken open as if owned by me.
Oh I saw
In the clear light of reasoned days,
And I saw,
In the darker nights without words.
(But those urges
Made by me,
Crawling back to me.)
How long, oh lord, how long I cried
Sitting hopeless without redemption.
(But still my thoughts slide down the feeling,
Without, but in, control again,
And I am hard at the thought of another Easter.)
October 2004/2008 rev.